CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Surrey's green revolution: reduce, reuse, recycle

PUBLISHED: 06:25 09 November 2010 | UPDATED: 15:18 20 February 2013

Oliver Heath is backing Surrey County Council's new environmental campaign

Oliver Heath is backing Surrey County Council's new environmental campaign

In a bid to help us all reduce our carbon footprint, Surrey County Council has teamed up with design guru Oliver Heath to highlight the benefits of adopting a greener lifestyle at home and at work. MATTHEW WILLIAMS spoke to the eco-chic expert

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2008

In a bid to help us all reduce our carbon footprint, Surrey County Council has teamed up with design guru Oliver Heath to highlight the many benefits of adopting a greener lifestyle at home and at work. MATTHEW WILLIAMS spoke to the eco-chic expert to find out more



He shot to fame through TV shows such as Home front and Changing Rooms, is well-known as a passionate supporter of environmental issues and has even launched his own range of eco-friendly products.

Now, home style guru Oliver Heath has set his sights firmly on Surrey after teaming up with Surrey County Council to support their new campaign - 'There are 3Rs in Surrey: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'.

The idea is simple: to encourage all Surrey residents and businesses to do their bit to reduce the amount of waste we produce, reuse whatever we can and recycle as much as possible of what's left.

"Environmental awareness has gone from being 'that weird thing that hippy, sandal-wearing types bang on about' to something that people genuinely want to get involved with," says Oliver. "In the past, global warming meant Hurricane Katrina and the melting of the ice caps etc and so people tended to distance them-selves slightly from it. But recent years have seen natural disasters occurring on our own shores and people are starting to pay a little bit more attention."


Reducing our footprint
What Surrey County Council hopes to do is to bring this thinking into our own homes by highlighting how even the smallest changes can make a difference.


"One of the reasons I got involved in this campaign is because it's so thorough and comprehensive," continues Oliver. "The website (www.surreywaste.info) gives the people of Surrey everything they need to know about what they can recycle and where they can do it. It's great to have everything in one place. People are keen to become more environmentally aware and schemes like this make it easier to understand and put it into action."

As part of the 3Rs campaign, the council has also introduced further initiatives that could see Surrey returning to an old-fashioned bartering system of sorts, where skills and unwanted items can be offered instead of actual money.

"People tend to throw things away when they are finished with, forgetting that someone else may well still have a use for them," says Oliver. "But the council's popular new scheme, Swap It Surrey (www.swapitsurrey.org), means that people can put unwanted items online and possibly find them a new home. You can ask for items in return or swap them for a service, such as help in your garden or fixing a leak."

The public can be notoriously resistant to change, and I wonder how easy it can really be for people to make these sorts of alterations without disrupting the patterns they are used to in their
day-to-day lives.

"It's pretty simple," Oliver insists. "People can easily reduce the resources coming into the home - not only gas, water, electricity and so on but also by buying loose fruit and veg. In fact, buying anything loose rather than pre-packaged is beneficial.

"Composting waste is a great idea too; it not only reduces waste but also has potential benefits in the garden. We only have a certain amount of landfill left and one day that will be used up. Not only is the methane created from these sites unhealthy but they aren't a sustainable solution. So any way we can help people to stop sending so much to them is a good thing."

Why eco-chic rules
However, he is keen to remind people that being environmentally friendly doesn't mean that our homes and offices can't be aesthetically pleasing; far from it.


"At the end of the day, I'm a designer," he says. "I want my home, as most people do, to have a beautiful aesthetic. People want friends to walk into their home and say 'this looks beautiful' - that's one of the reasons I got so interested in eco-chic."

This isn't the first time that Oliver has brought his eco-chic ideas to Surrey. Back in 2006, he was chosen as the designer for a show home at the BedZED eco-village development in Wallington.

"It was really exciting to be involved in the project because at the time it hadn't really been done before," he says. "All the materials we used had been chosen for their environmental benefits. We had kitchen cupboards made from recycled vending machine coffee cups; natural flooring; and low toxicity eco-paints to reduce allergies."

By most accounts, environmental awareness is only going to increase, but one of the main factors that has put many people off is the perceived time and cost being green entails.

"Well, hopefully with this project, we've given people enough information to prove that it isn't going to be that time intensive," concludes Oliver. "There are so many easy, quick things that can make all the difference. Also, I am hoping to show people that it really doesn't have to be expensive - in fact the opposite, it can save money in the long run."

I guess, in the end, what it comes down to is that we can all do our little bit to help - and it needn't cost us the earth.




Handy hints for a green home makeover



  • Use charity shops, Swap It furniture schemes (www.swapitsurrey.org) or eBay to find old items that can be transformed into beautiful features for your home

  • Reduce or reuse the amount of furniture and DIY goods you throw away - can the item be fixed or be made good as new with a makeover?

  • Recycle wherever possible - and take unwanted items to a charity shop or boot fair

  • Go green around the home - look into eco-friendly, sustainable furniture and paint

  • Check out markets where you can often pick up great furniture and repaint it to fit your needs

  • When buying that new sofa, get something that is durable with removable covers. If the covers are removable you can always dye them later to freshen things up

  • Buying old lights is a good way to add character to your home. Chandeliers and retro lights fitted up with low energy bulbs, give you the perfect mix of looks and efficiency



Visit an eco-chic Surrey show home

In 2006, Oliver Heath teamed up with environmental charity Bioregional to add his designer touch to the Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED) in Wallington.

BedZED is the UK's largest carbon-neutral eco-community and was the first of its kind in this country.

Oliver was responsible for creating the site's eco-chic show home, where you will find a whole host of ideas for green living, which is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm.



  • BedZED Centre, 24 Helios Road, Wallington SM6 7BZ. Tel: 020 8404 4880

More from Surrey Life

16:06

Education expert Dr Ryan Hinchey, Coordinator of College Counselling at ACS International School, with campuses in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, answers your questions

Read more

Surrounded by reservoirs and located on the banks of the famous river from which it takes its name, Staines-upon-Thames (as it is now called) is a town working to reshape its future and celebrate its picturesque riverside setting

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30

She may have recently moved to the seaside, but Surrey still holds a uniquely “precious” place in the heart of legendary children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson – not to mention the crucial role the county played in bringing everyone’s favourite and newly-returning feisty foster-kid to life

Read more
Yesterday, 11:59

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (23, 24 and 25 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search